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Monday, February 28, 2005

The Bus (Part 2)

Busses are probably the main form of transportation in Jerusalem. Even one who has his own automobile will often prefer using the bus if he has to get to the city center. Why? Because any time he saved by driving downtown will be more than made up for looking for a parking spot.

You'll meet a good cross-section of Jerusalemites on the busses: Secular, religious, and ultra-Orthodox Jews, Arabs, soldiers, tourists, foreign workers. If you keep your ears open you can hear many languages: Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, Yiddish, Filipino, and more. Another thing that you are sure to hear is a variety of ringing sounds from the cellular phones that they are carrying.

It's interesting to see how people spend the 15-40 minutes that they are on the bus. For many this is the time to take out the cellular telephone and make important arrangements, or pass the time talking to a friend. Others will stare out the window, taking in the sights of Jerusalem and its people. Saying Psalms is the way a lot of religious women will spend the ride. In the morning some men will finish parts of the prayer service that they missed in their minyan while others will close their eyes to get a few more minutes of sleep before a hard day's work. The Torah scholar will have the tractate that he is learning open on his lap, striving to make sure that the precious time for learning Torah is not being wasted. A high school student may review his notes for an upcoming test, or joke around with his friends in a raucous manner.

The bus rolls down Jaffa Street, passing the places where other busses just like it were blown up and turned into fiery death traps. The bus stops: An old man with bags full of produce from the shuk boards the bus. A young woman gets up to give him her seat. Suddenly two men that haven't seen each other in years will notice that they are on the same bus and will greet one another loudly and warmly, oblivious to the stares of the other passengers. A woman starts yelling "nahag, rega!"(Driver wait a minute), as the bus leaves the bus stop before she had a chance to get off.

If all goes well and the bus does not get blown up by an Islamofascist, everyone gets of at his stop and life in Jerusalem goes on as usual.

Update: Read more about Israel's busses at Shiloh Musings.

2 comments:

muse said...

Yes, nothing like the bus... http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2004/12/traveling-by-bus-or-only-in-israel.html

Cosmic X said...

Batya,

That's a beautiful post! I'll add a link to it from my post!

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